The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ7 marks the start of a new generation of TravelZoom cameras. TravelZoom stands for a compact camera with a large zoom range, and it is a segment in which Panasonic does really well. Strangely enough, it took an awfully long time before the competition started to respond. This worked well for Panasonic, and the market share certainly did not suffer! This year, many of Panasonic’s rivals have joined the competition, however, even now Panasonic is still able to stand out from the crowd. The compact size has remained; in fact, it has become even smaller, but it is the 12x optical zoom lens that is truly unique. It is the combination of the small housing bearing this type of zoom range that makes the Panasonic LUMIX TZ7 stand out.
Panasonic TZ7 features a 12x zoom lens
Thanks to the size of the Panasonic TZ7, you're able to carry the camera with you at all times. The weight, a mere 229 grams (including the card and battery) is light enough to put the camera in your trouser pocket or safely in a pouch. The front of the Panasonic LUMIX TZ7 is dominated by the 12x zoom lens. The Leica DC VARIO-ELMAR f/3.3-4.9 has a large size and needs it too, since it has a range of 25-300 mm. Yet, Panasonic has succeeded in keeping the zoom lens inside the housing as much as possible when it is deactivated. The camera's handgrip is quite curved and round, and feels somewhat smooth. Perhaps a small rubber strip would have been enough to get more grip on the camera. The built-in flash is placed far enough from the handgrip, making it unlikely you will accidentally place your finger in front of the flash.
Recording HD video clips with the Panasonic DMC-TZ7
The topside of the Panasonic LUMIX TZ7 reveals a striking feature; a twosome of stereo microphones flanked by an integrated speaker. This adds to another feature: capturing high quality HD videos in AVCHD Lite format. In the center, we find the on/off button with to its right, the shutter release button encircled by a ring to operate the zoom lens. On the far corner, we find the command dial of the camera, offering a limited amount of functions.
Battery and memory card compartments
The side of the handgrip has a nicely hidden cover that provides access to interfaces such as the USB 2.0 Hi-Speed and HDMI. The bottom of the handgrip contains the Li-Ion battery and memory card compartment. Being one of the founders of the Secure Digital (SD) format, Panasonic naturally supports the SD and SDHC format. A universal metal tripod mount is placed almost in the center of the camera's bottom side. In practice, it will hardly be possible, if even at all, to switch the memory card or the battery when the camera is mounted to a tripod. On the other hand, how often will a Panasonic TZ7 actually be mounted to a tripod?
Panasonic Lumix TZ7 offers a 3" LCD monitor
The back of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ7 features a large-sized 3 inch LCD monitor. This type of monitor is perfect to check your captured picture, and also provides additional reproduction possibilities. The resolution of 460,800 pixels is very high indeed which translates immediately to its reproduction. Details are visible, and the quality of the monitor also ensures colors are rendered beautifully. A multi-controller, right of the monitor, serves to navigate through the camera's menu and provides access to various functions such as exposure compensation, flash programs, macro etc. The eye-catching red button is new and enables capturing a video immediately. The amount of buttons on the camera has been restricted, which adds to a well-structured look.